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30 Cats Allegedly Abandoned At S’pore Pet Hotel, 16 Still Need New Homes

Man Allegedly Abandons 30 Cats At Pet Hotel, Petopia Incurs S$30K In Losses

For many, pets become part of the family, well-loved and cared for like any other member. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

In Apr 2021, a man named Faisal allegedly approached Petopia, a pet boarding service on Jalan Kelulut, near Seletar, seeking help to care for 30 cats.

Image courtesy of Marcus Khoo

However, Petopia claims he suddenly became uncontactable and has abandoned the felines.

Now, they are hoping to rehome the cats. While 14 have already found their fur-ever homes, 16 more are still looking for adopters.

Man abandons 30 cats at pet hotel

Speaking with MS News, director of Petopia Mr Marcus Khoo revealed that Faisal had approached him for help back in 2016 as well. At that time, the latter had 42 cats.

Faisal got in touch with Petopia again in Apr 2021, seeking urgent help to care for 30 cats. He shared that his aunt, who was a cat hoarder, had become terminally ill.

Image courtesy of Marcus Khoo

Petopia eventually agreed to do so for a very affordable fee of S$1,800 per month, just enough to cover the costs of the cats’ basic needs.

Image courtesy of Marcus Khoo

Later in July, the fees were revised to S$2,100 due to rising operation costs. Faisal also had to pay for the cats’ grooming needs at regular intervals.

Then, in Oct 2021, Faisal allegedly stopped making payments to Petopia. The boarding service issued lawyers’ letters of demand on two occasions, in November and December. Despite that, Faisal has remained uncontactable since 3 Nov 2021.

Consequently, Petopia reached out to the local cat feeders community in a bid to get in touch with Faisal.

They soon found out that Faisal had previously also approached others for help.

Image courtesy of Marcus Khoo

According to Mr Khoo, the cats lived in a grooming place at a shophouse in cramped conditions prior to moving to Petopia.

Authorities investigating incident

Even if Petopia is willing to care for these cats, they are still a business and there is no long-term solution.

What’s more, Petopia received many requests to board pets when borders reopened, but they had to turn customers away due to the lack of space.

Petopia thus approached the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and National Parks Board (NParks) for help on the matter.

However, Mr Khoo claimed they turned him away as it was not deemed an abandonment case.

After multiple requests, SPCA later offered to take in the cats in batches of five. But they later rescinded the offer, claiming they would need a letter of surrender from Faisal.

In response to queries from MS News, SPCA explained that after Petopia attempted to leave 25 cats at their premises, they had offered to help contact the owner of the cats to settle the commercial dispute. However, Petopia allegedly declined the offer. SPCA thus raised the matter to the authorities, who are investigating. Here’s their statement in full:

On the 28th March 2022, Petopia attempted to leave 25 cats at SPCA’s premises. Our staff were not provided with any information prior or during the incident. Upon further investigation, we were informed that this is a commercial dispute between Petopia and a pet owner.

The SPCA does not have the legal authority to seize or rehome people’s pets without their consent. We had offered to help contact the owner of the cats but Petopia declined our offer. The case has been escalated to the authorities who are investigating and are in contact with both parties.

Pet abandonment is a crime in Singapore. Individuals who are found guilty of pet abandonment can face a maximum fine of $10,000, a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.

NParks, likewise, concluded that this was a breach of contract rather than an act of abandonment.

In their email to Mr Khoo, they apparently spoke to Faisal, who said that he intends to take the cats back but is unable to do so due to financial issues. NParks then asked Mr Khoo to “resolve the matter privately” with Faisal.

MS News has reached out to NParks for comments and will update the article accordingly when they get back.

Petopia seeking adopters for 16 more cats

Based on Petopia’s contract with Faisal, he would need to pay the relevant fees within seven days of the due date. A breach would give Petopia the right to rehome the cats.

In Oct 2021, Petopia started seeking out new owners for the felines. However, it was a challenge and they only managed to rehome six of them.

After media outlets covered their plight, Petopia managed to find homes for eight more cats, leaving 16 up for adoption.

At this point, Faisal has not paid Petopia for six months and Petopia has accumulated losses of up to S$30,000. This is without factoring in the losses incurred from turning customers away.

Besides the financial strain, this has also led to a manpower crunch for Petopia.

Mr Khoo told MS News that staff have to devote a lot of time to screening potential adopters, dealing with administrative matters, as well as checking in with families that have adopted the cats.

 

Petopia is now actively searching for interested adopters for the remaining 16 cats.

Pet abandonment is punishable by law

It is unfortunate that Singapore has seen its fair share of irresponsible owners over the years.

In 2021 alone, there were reportedly 225 pet abandonment cases, as shared by Member of Parliament (MP) Tan Kiat How. About half of these cases involved cats.

Warning that pet abandonment cases are punishable by law, Mr Tan reminded the public that the authorities take them seriously. First-time offenders apparently face up to a S$10,000 fine, maximum 12-month imprisonment, or both.

We hope that the remaining 16 cats at Petopia will manage to find new families soon. If you are interested, do reach out to them via the phone number in the Facebook post here.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Google Maps and courtesy of Marcus Khoo.

Sabrina Seng

Sabrina is always facing some form of existential crisis but other than that, she's pretty chill.

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